Marshall DSL100HR Review – Feature-Packed Tube Amp Head

Updated on by Ross McLeod | There may be affiliate links on this page.

The DSL100HR is a multi-faceted tube amp head that allows you to tap into the legendary tone of the DSL in any setting.

High-performing tube amp heads are hard to come by, especially if you need versatility and a selection of sounds. The original DSL models from the 1990s have an iconic reputation, and this modern version is unarguably a significant improvement.

If you’re looking for a tube amp head that is equally suited to quiet practice as it is blasting out overdriven tones onstage, the Marshall DSL100HR could be the ideal choice.

Marshall DSL100HR - Overview

The DSL100HR boasts the following components and features:

  • Dual channels
  • High and low power modes
  • Line output
  • 1960s Marshall cab emulator
  • Studio-grade reverb
  • High-gain settings
  • Refined EQ section for frequency adjustment
  • Suitable for practicing, recording, and live performances
  • Two modes per channel
  • Rear panel-effects loop
  • The powerful tone is best suited for rock rather than “cleaner” styles

Sound & Tone

The power output of the Marshall DSL series cemented the brand's reputation when it was first introduced in 1997.

With the DSL100HR, Marshall has managed to preserve the standout qualities of the original, while adding modern improvements.

This tube amp head is not for the faint-hearted. It emits exceptional power and character, making it a perfect choice for guitarists who like to crank up the gain and rock out.

Furthermore, perhaps the most impressive ability of the Marshall DSL100HR is how it retains its high-gain tone even at low volumes.

As a guitarist, I’ve been in the frustrating position where I’ve composed or learned a new riff that would sound awesome with a high-gain setting, but my amplifier’s volume is limited by the risk of waking up my whole neighborhood.

A tuber amp head can rarely produce such intense overdriven tones without needing to be played at high volumes. For this reason, the DSL100HR is an ideal companion for practicing.

At the heart of this tube amp head’s tone-producing capabilities are four EL34s. These classic tubes allow the DSL100HR to maintain its warm, clear sound even when pushed to its dynamic limits.

Although many guitarists (myself included) tend to favor vintage cabs and amp heads, the Marshall DSL100HR is a prime example of why modern versions can also be better choices.

With this amp head, you gain access to the whole plethora of Marshall tones throughout the decades.

There are two channels, for “Classic Gain” or “Ultra Gain” settings, and also the line output produces an accurate emulation of the 1960s Marshall cab.

Connectivity

The Marshall DSL100HR offers a single ¼ inch input, but there’s more to the connectivity options of this tube amp head than meets the eye.

On the rear panel, there’s an effects loop that can be used to isolate specific effects and send them directly to the amplifier for the best possible audio quality. The effects loop is also bypassable.

Additionally, the DSL100HR includes a line output. Fitted with the impressively accurate emulation of the Marshall 1960 guitar cab by Softtube, this output is great for recording or performing with authentic, vintage tones.

Also included with this Marshall amp head is a two-way footswitch. This device allows you to instantaneously switch between channels and also features a switch for activating the FX loop quickly and efficiently.

Additional Features

With a wealth of experience producing amp heads, Marshall has perfected their designs to include a wide range of versatile features and controls.

As I previously mentioned, the DSL100HR includes two channels – one for producing “classic gain” and the other for “ultra gain”. Each of these channels also features a pair of distinctive modes.

These modes are labeled “Clean/Crunch” and “OD1/OD2”. By switching between them, you can find the ideal balance of smooth, clean tones, and overdriven sounds that are bursting with energy and attitude.

You also benefit from the inclusion of studio-quality reverb, which is added by increasing the value on the rotary control. This effect is joined by a refined EQ section, which puts you in control of the frequency output of the amp head.

Finally, the resonance control is also worth mentioning. Installed as a replacement of the original DSL model’s fixed deep switch, it allows you to reign in any problem frequencies, or highlight the sweet spots of the interaction between your guitar and the amp head.


Conclusion

Marshall’s experience and reputation in the field of producing tube amp heads are admirable. The DSL series boasts some of the finest amp heads that have ever been created.

With the DSL100HR, you can access the classic, high-gain tones that this legendary manufacturer is famous for. Additionally, it includes several high-quality modern enhancements to boost the performance and tone of the device.

About Ross McLeod

Ross McLeod is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. His most recent project is named Gold Jacket, and he is the frontman and bassist of the garage rock band The Blue Dawns with whom he has released 4 EPs and toured extensively.

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